معلقة عمرو بن كلثوم

معلقة عمرو بن كلثوم
ترجمة: محمود عباس مسعود

The Muallaqa of Omar Bin Kalthoum
Translated by: Mahmoud Abbas Masoud

Some Background for the benefit of the English reader:

One day, the sixth century King of Hira, Amr Bin Hind, asked if there were anyone, among the entire Arab tribes, whose mother would refuse serving his own mother, Hind. In answer to his question, he was told: “Indeed such a person exists; his name is Amr Bin Kalthoum.”

Upon inquiring about the reason, the answer was: “Because he is of royal decent and the scion of noble chiefs and legendary knights.”

Presently, the King extended an invitation to Amr Bin Kalthoum and asked that his mother, Layla, also accompany him. Amr accepted the invitation and repaired to Hira, with his mother.

Upon arrival, Hind asked Layla to fetch her an article of food, to which Layla commented, “Let those in need of the article fetch it for themselves.”

When Hind insisted, Layla screamed, “How humiliating!”
Layla’s son heard the remark, drew his sword and severed the head of the king, and spontaneously recited this famous ode, referred to as Muallaqa.

The language of the Muallaqa is antiquated; a good part of the expressions used are hard to understand even by Arabic readers. Certain terms used do not readily yield to rendition. Therefore, I have endeavored to render a logical translation, resorting now and then to adding an explanatory word or sentence, that may seem at variance with the original, yet unavoidably necessary to accomplish this task. -Translator's Note

أَلاَ هُبِّي بِصَحْنِـكِ فَاصْبَحِينَا
وَلاَ تُبْقِي خُمُورَ الأَنْدَرِينَا

مُشَعْشَعَةً كَأَنَّ الْحُصَّ فِيهَا
إِذَا مَا الْمَاءُ خَالَطَهَا سَخِينَا

Arise, from your sleep, Wine Pourer
And offer me, this morning, in your large goblet
The famous wine of the Andarines
Making sure you leave no fine wine un-served!.1

Lo! It sparkles bright
As if pure pearls in it placed
When with warm water duly mixed.2

تَجُورُ بِذِي اللُّبَانَةِ عَنْ هَوَاهُ
إِذَا مَا ذَاقَهَا حَتَّى يَلِيـنَا

تَرَى اللَّحِزَ الشَّحِيحَ إِذَا أُمِرَّتْ
عَلَيْهِ لِمَالِـهِ فِيهَا مُهِيـنَا

It diverts a needy person from his needs
Once he tastes of it he forgets his worries
Becoming oblivious of his sorrows.3

When offered to an avaricious miser
He grows less attached to his money
Spending it extravagantly.4

صَبَنْتِ الكَأْسَ عَنَّا أُمَّ عَمْرٍو
وَكَانَ الكَأْسُ مَجْرَاهَا الْيَمِينَا

وَمَا شَـرُّ الثَّلاَثَةِ أُمَّ عَمْـروٍ
بِصَاحِبِكِ الَّذِي لاَ تَصْبَحِينَا

You have removed the goblet
From me, Umm Amr
And reversed its course
From right to left, instead.5

I am not the worst of your three companions
O Umm Amr! So why have you neglected
Offering the morning drink, first to me?6

وَكَأْسٍ قَدْ شَرِبْتُ بِبَعْلَبَـكَّ
وَأُخْرَى فِي دِمَشْقَ وَقَاصِرِينَا

وَإِنَّا سَوْفَ تُدْرِكُنَا الْمَنَايَـا
مُقَـدَّرَةً لَنَـا وَمُقَدَّرِيـنَا

I have had a glass of this wine in Baalabak
Another in Damascus
And still another in Qassirin.7

Death will surely catch up with us
For it is our destiny to succumb to death
As it is ordained that death should overtake us.8

قِفِي قَبْلَ التَّفَرُّقِ يَا ظَعِينَا
نُخَبِّرْكِ الْيَقِيـنَ وَتُخْبِرِينَـا

قِفِي نَسْأَلْكِ هَلْ أَحْدَثْتِ صَرْمَاً
لِوَشْكِ البَيْنِ أَمْ خُنْتِ الأَمِينَا

Halt, O ye who are carried away
On the back of a camel
Tarry awhile before separation
That we may intimately share
That which we have both experienced.9

Stop and let me ask you
Whether this sudden departure of yours
Signifies the severance of our ties
Or the betrayal of the trust of your faithful lover.10

بِيَوْمِ كَرِيهَةٍ ضَرْبَاً وَطَعْنَاً
أَقَرَّ بِـهِ مَوَالِيـكِ العُيُونَـا

وَإِنَّ غَدَاً وَإِنَّ اليَـوْمَ رَهْـنٌ
وَبَعْدَ غَدٍ بِمَا لاَ تَعْلَمِينَـا

And I will relate to you a memorable day of battle:
A day that witnessed gallant thrusts and blows
Giving supreme pleasure to your kinsmen
For their glorious victory.11

Tomorrow is still in the realm of the unknown
Like today and the day after tomorrow
You are unaware of the events hidden therein.12

تُرِيكَ إِذَا دَخَلَتْ عَلَى خَلاَءٍ
وَقَدْ أَمِنْت عُيُونَ الكَاشِحِينَا

ذِرَاعَي عَيْطَلٍ أَدْمَـاءَ بِكْـرٍ
هِجَانِ اللَّوْنِ لَمْ تَقْرَأْ جَنِينَا

(O, Friend!)When, in privacy, the beloved comes to you
And feels protected from enemy’s eyes13

She’ll reveal to you white arms
Like the long neck of a healthy, well-padded she camel
Who hasn’t yet given birth to a calf.14

وَثَدْيَاً مِثْلَ حُقِّ العَاجِ رَخْصَاً
حَصَانَاً مِنْ أَكُفِّ اللاَمِسِينَا

وَمَتْنَيْ لَدْنَةٍ سَمَقَتْ وَطَالَـتْ
رَوَادِفُهَا تَنُوءُ بِمَا وَلِينَـا

And a bosom, soft like an ivory-color sack
Well-protected against others’ touch.15

And a tender, tall body
Supported by strong legs
Its heaviness, notwithstanding.16

وَمأْكَمَةً يَضِيقُ البَابُ عَنْـهَا
وَكَشْحَاً قَدْ جُنِنْتُ بِهِ جُنُونَا

وَسَارِيَتَيْ بِلَنْـطٍ أَوْ رُخَـامٍ
يَرِنُّ خَشَاشُ حَلْيِهِمَا رَنِينَا

And she will reveal a portion of her person
Too bulky to pass through a door.
You will be utterly captivated and fascinated by what you see.17

And she will show you two ivory or alabaster masts
And anklets with tinkling and jingling sounds.17

فَمَا وَجَدَتْ كَوَجْدِي أُمُّ سَقْبٍ
أَضَلَّتْهُ فَرَجَّعَـتِ الْحَنِيـنَا

وَلاَ شَمْطَاءُ لَمْ يَتْرُكْ شَقَاهَا
لَهَا مِنْ تِسْعَةٍ إلاَّ جَنِينَا

Great was my longing; never experienced
Even by a she camel who had lost her calf
Expressing her strong persistent yearning
With muffled groans.18

Nor a miserable hoary woman
Whom death had claimed
Her nine children,
Ever felt the pangs of separation as do I.19

تَذَكَّرْتُ الصِّبَا وَاشْتَقْتُ لَمَّا
رَأَيْتُ حُمُولَهَا أُصُلاً حُدِينَا

فَأَعْرَضَتِ اليَمَامَةُ وَاشْمَخَرَّتْ
كَأَسْيَافٍ بِأَيْـدِي مُصْلِتِيـنَا

I fondly remembered my youthful years
And sorely missed my beloved
When I saw her camels, prodded on, at eventide.20

I remembered her when the villages of Yamama
Imposingly loomed before my eyes
Like drawn swords in warrior’s hands.21

أَبَا هِنْدٍ فَلاَ تَعْجَلْ عَلَيْنَا
وَأَنْظِرْنَا نُخَبِّـرْكَ اليَقِينَـا

بِأَنَّا نُوْرِدُ الرَّايَـاتِ بِيضَـاً
وَنُصْدِرُهُنَّ حُمْرَاً قَدْ رَوِينَا

Slow down, (King) Aba Hind!
Don't behave foolishly toward us!
Rather, wait for us to convey an unmistakable truth to you.22

Know that we carry our banners
Into battle, stark white
And return them reddish-soaked.23

وَأَيَّـامٍ لَنَـا غُـرٍّ طِـوَال
عَصَيْنَا المَلْكَ فِيهَا أَنْ نَدِينَا

وَسَيِّدِ مَعْشَرٍ قَـدْ تَوَّجُـوهُ
بِتَاجِ المُلْكِ يَحْمِي المُحْجَرِينَا

And we will relate to you tales of our days of battle
Long and mighty, like noble steeds.
How we valiantly stood up to powerful kings
And refused to bow down to them.24

Many a chief, crowned as royalty by his people
Trusted to guard and protect those seeking refuge in him
We subdued and severely overwhelmed.25

تَرَكْنَا الْخَيْلَ عَاكِفَةً عَلَيْـهِ
مُقَلَّـدَةً أَعِنَّـتَهَا صُفُونَـا

وَأَنْزَلْنَا البُيُوتَ بِذِي طُلُوحٍ
إِلَى الشَامَاتِ تَنْفِي المُوعِدِينَا

We left our horses crowded in on him
With their reins to his body tightly tied.26

We pitched our tents in Dhi Tulouh and Shamat
And chased away those posing a threat to us.27

وَقَدْ هَرَّتْ كِلاَبُ الحَيِّ مِنَّا
وَشَذَّبْنَا قَتَادَةَ مَنْ يَلِيـنَا

مَتَى نَنْقُلْ إِلَى قَوْمٍ رَحَانَـا
يَكُونُوا فِي اللِّقَاءِ لَهَا طَحِينَا

The dogs of the tribe sent forth harsh sounds,
Apprehensive of our terrifying sight
As we rushed and crushed our attacking opponents.28

When we shift battle into the camp of our adversaries
We pound and grind them as a mill grinds wheat
Into fine, powdery meal.29

يَكُونُ ثِفَالُهَا شَرْقِـيَّ نَجْـدٍ
وَلُهْوَتُهَا قُضَاعَـةَ أَجْمَعِينَا

نَزَلْتُمْ مَنْزِلَ الأَضْيَـافِ مِنَّـا
فَأَعْجَلْنَا الْقِرَى أَنْ تَشْتِمُونَا

Our battle, although East of Najd
Will, nevertheless, encompass the entire tribes of Qudha’aa.30

You arrived as guests in our land
We hastened to offer you hospitality
Lest, with insensitive grossness
You speak ill of us.31

قَرَيْنَاكُـمْ فَعَجَّلْنَـا قِرَاكُـمْ
قُبَيْلَ الصُّبْحِ مِرْدَاةً طَحُونَا

نَعُمُّ أُنَاسَنَا وَنَعِـفُّ عَنْهُمْ
وَنَحْمِلُ عَنْهُمُ مَا حَمَّلُونَا

Promptly, we proffered you hospitality
Early in the morning, lest you revile us
For denying you cordial reception.32

We extend our boons to our friends
Spare their property
And shoulder the burden they place upon us.33

نُطَاعِنُ مَا تَرَاخَى النَّاسُ عَنَّا
وَنَضْرِبُ بِالسِّيُوفِ إِذَا غُشِينَا

بِسُمْرٍ مِنْ قَنَا الخَطِّـيِّ لُـدْنٍ
ذَوَابِلَ أَوْ بِبِيضٍ يَخْتَلِينَـا

We fight on, even when allies abandon us
Leaving us alone in the battle.
When attacked, we smite the enemy
With our swords.34

Yea, we inflict heavy blows
With long, flexible spears
And strike with shiny, cutting swords.35

كأّنَّ جَمَاجِمَ الأَبْطَالِ فِيـهَا
وُسُوقٌ بِالأَمَاعِـزِ يَرْتَمِينَـا

نَشُقُّ بِهَا رُؤُوسَ القَـوْمِ شَقًّـاً
وَنَخْتَلِبُ الرِّقَـابَ فَتَخْتَلِينَ

Behold the skulls of heroic warriors
Strewn above the battleground
As if camel-loads had fallen
And scattered, on rocky land.36

We cleave the enemies’ heads with sharp instruments
And reach for necks that yield to us.37

وَإِنَّ الضِّغْنَ بَعْدَ الضِّغْنِ يَبْدُو
عَلَيْكَ وَيُخْرِجُ الدَّاءَ الدَّفِينَا

وَرِثْنَا المَجْدَ قَدْ عَلِمَتْ مَعَـدٌّ
نُطَاعِنُ دُونَـهُ حَتَّى يَبِينَا

One grudge after another, in you are now revealed
Hidden malignant disease comes to the fore.38

We have inherited glory, as Maad knows full well
We fight for our honor until it stands, to all, revealed.39

وَنَحْنُ إِذَا عِمَادُ الحَيِّ خَرَّتْ
عَنِ الأَحْفَاضِ نَمْنَعُ مَنْ يَلِينَا

نَجُذُّ رُؤُوسَهُمْ فِي غَيْرِ بِـرٍّ
فَمَا يَدْرُونَ مَاذَا يَتَّقُونَـا

When pillars collapse and tents fall down
Off camels’ backs, or on household articles
We give protection to those who seek refuge in us.40

We ruthlessly chop off the enemies’ heads
Rendering them perplexed as to what to save
From our overwhelming violent attacks.41

كَأَنَّ سُيُوفَنَا فِيـنَا وَفِيهِـمْ
مَخَارِيقٌ بِأَيْـدِي لاَعِبِينَـا

كَأَنَّ ثِيَابَنَا مِنَّـا وَمِنْهُـمْ
خُضِبْنَ بِأُرْجُوَانٍ أَوْ طُلِينَـا

Our swords and theirs were easy to wield
As if wooden, intended for sport.42

Our clothes and theirs red-dyed
As if violet-drenched, purple-stained.43

إِذَا مَا عَيَّ بِالإِسْنَافِ حَـيٌّ
مِنَ الهَوْلِ المُشَبَّهِ أَنْ يَكُونَا

نَصَبْنَا مِثْلَ رَهْوَةَ ذَاتَ حَـدٍّ
مُحَافَظَةً وَكُنَّـا السَّابِقِينَـا

When a tribe falters and apprehends advancement,
Fearful of what formidable dread may befall44

We stand resolute and press forward, undeterred
In protection of our prestige and honor
And score victory on the opponent.45

بِشُبَّانٍ يَرَوْنَ القَتْلَ مَجْـدَاً
وَشِيبٍ فِي الحُرُوبِ مُجَرَّبِينَا

حُدَيَّا النَّاسِ كُلِّهِمُ جَمِيعَـاً
مُقَارَعَةً بَنِيهِمْ عَنْ بَنِينَـا

With young men who deem killing glorious
And battle-seasoned, gray-haired adults.46

We challenge, without exception, all people
And fight to protect our children
Against the onslaught of insidious foes.47

فَأَمَّا يَوْمَ خَشْيَـتِنَا عَلَيْهِمْ
فَتُصْبِحُ خَيْلُنَا عُصَبَاً ثُبِينَـا

وَأَمَّا يَوْمَ لاَ نَخْشَى عَلَيْهِـمْ
فَنُمْعِنُ غَـارَةً مُتَلَبِّـبِينَا

When we fear for our children’s safety
Our horses gallop in scores to foil the enemy’s attempts.48

And when there is no reason for us to worry about them
We raid the enemy’s camp, armed to the hilt.49

بِرَأْسٍ مِنْ بَنِي جُشَمِ بن بَكْـرٍ
نَدُقُّ بِهِ السُّهُولَـةَ وَالحُزُونَا

أَلاَ لاَ يَعْلَمُ الأَقْـوَامُ أَنَّـا
تَضَعْضَعْنَا وَأَنَّـا قَدْ وَنِينَـا

We charge them with a veteran chief from the tribe
Of Jashm Bin Bakr, as our hero
Defeating, alike, the weak and the strong.50

Let not the enemy think we are shaken
Nor fancy our resolve weakened.51

أَلاَ لاَ يَجْهَلَنْ أَحَـدٌ عَلَيْنَا
فَنَجْهَلَ فَوْقَ جَهْلِ الجَاهِلِينَا

بِأَيِّ مَشِيئَةٍ عَمْرَو بْنَ هِنْـدٍ
نَكُونُ لِقَيْلِكُمْ فِيهَا قَطِينَـا

Let no one feign ignorance, tackling us
Lest we feign greater ignorance, tackling him.52

By whose authoritative decree, O Amr Bin Hind
Are we made servants to your appointed sovereigns?53

بِأَيِّ مَشِيئَةٍ عَمْرَو بْنَ هِنْـدٍ
تُطِيْعُ بِنَا الوُشَاةَ وَتَزْدَرِينَا

تَهَـدَّدْنَا وَأَوْعِـدْنَا رُوَيْـدَاً
مَتَى كُنَّا لأُمِّكَ مَقْتَوِينَـا

And by whose authoritative decree, O Amr Bin Hind
You listen to slanderers and treat us with flagrant contempt?54

You portend and threaten us; it behooves you
To abandon your warnings.
Since when have we been made
Servants to your mother?55

فَإِنَّ قَنَاتَـنَا يَا عَمْرُو أَعْيَتْ
عَلَى الأَعْدَاءِ قَبَلَكَ أَنْ تَلِينَا

إِذَا عَضَّ الثِّقَافُ بِهَا اشْمَأَزَّتْ
وَوَلَّتْـهُ عَشَـوْزَنَةً زَبُونَـا

Know O Amr that our resolve is firm
And our will is strong.
Enemies tried before you to break our will
But their attempts were all in vain.56

Likewise, our spears are unbendable
They are well-tempered, hardened and capable
Of striking and withstanding severe blows.57

عَشَوْزَنَةً إِذَا انْقَلَبَتْ أَرَنَّـتْ
تَشُجُّ قَفَا المُثَقَّفِ وَالجَبِينَـا

فَهَلْ حُدِّثْتَ فِي جُشَمِ بْنِ بَكْرٍ
بِنَقْصٍ فِي خُطُوبِ الأَوَّلِينَا

Our firm spear, gives forth a clear resonant sound
When someone tries to tamper and tinker with it
Harshly splitting, as a result, the head and forehead of the tamperer.58

Were you ever told that the Jushm Bin Bakr tribe
Lacked bravery in bygone days
Or shirked battle obligations?59

وَرِثْنَا مَجْدَ عَلْقَمَةَ بْنِ سَيْفٍ
أَبَاحَ لَنَا حُصُونَ المَجْدِ دِينَا

وَرِثْتُ مُهَلْهِلاً وَالخَيْرَ مِنْـهُ
زُهَيْرَاً نِعْمَ ذُخْرُ الذَّاخِرِينَا

We have inherited the glory of
Alqama Bin Saif, who have paved
The road to victory before us.60

I have inherited the great honor of Muhlhal
And that of Zuhair’s, who is
Greater than Muhalha, and whose mere name is
Precious possession, distinct merit.61

وَعَتَّـابَاً وَكُلْثُـومَاً جَمِيعَـاً
بِهِمْ نِلْنَا تُرَاثَ الأَكْرَمِينَا

وَذَا البُرَةِ الذِي حُدِّثْتَ عَنْـهُ
بِهِ نُحْمَى وَنَحْمِي المُحْجَرِينَا

We have also inherited the glory of Itab and Kalthoum
Who bequeathed to us the heritage of the noble chiefs.62

And the glory of the Burrah, whom you have heard of
Whose name we take for our protection
And the protection of those who seek us
For immunity from all harm.63

وَمِنَّا قَبْلَـهُ السَّاعِي كُلَيْـبٌ
فَأَيُّ المَجْدِ إِلاَّ قَدْ وَلِينَـا

مَتَى نَعْقِدْ قَرِينَـتَنَا بِحَبْـلٍ
تَجُذُّ الحَبْلَ أَوْ تَقْصِ القَرِينَا

And prior to him, the glory and the eminence of Kulaib
Indeed, we have embraced, and basked in, every glory.64

When our she camel is tied to another, by rope
She will either cut off the rope
Or sever the head of the other she camel.65

وَنُوجَدُ نَحْنُ أَمْنَعَهُمْ ذِمَارَاً
وَأَوْفَاهُمْ إِذَا عَقَدُوا يَمِينَا

وَنَحْنُ غَدَاةَ أُوقِدَ فِي خَزَازَى
رَفَدْنَا فَوْقَ رَفْدِ الرَّافِدِينَا

You will find us to be most reliable
As allies and keepers of faith.66

When war broke out in Khazazi
We were there to lend our unequalled support.67

وَنَحْنُ الحَابِسُونَ بِذِي أَرَاطَى
تَسَفُّ الجِلَّةُ الخُورُ الدَّرِينَـا

وَنَحْنُ الحَاكِمُونَ إِذَا أُطِعْـنَا
وَنَحْنُ العَازِمُونَ إِذَا عُصِينَا

We have stood firm in the Arati land
To help defend and protect our people
Until our old camels consumed
Dried grass and prickly shrubs.68

When obeyed, we rule justly
And when rebelled against
We deal severely with those who disobey us.69

وَنَحْنُ التَّارِكُونَ لِمَا سَخِطْنَا
وَنَحْنُ الآخِذُونَ بِمَا رَضِينَا

وَكُنَّا الأَيْمَنِينَ إِذَا التَقَـيْنَا
وَكَانَ الأَيْسَرِينَ بَنُو أَبِينَـا

We discard and disregard that which
Displeases us, and take unto ourselves
That which makes us glad and contented.70

فَصَالُوا صَوْلَةً فِيْمَنْ يَلِيهِـمْ
وَصُلْنَا صَوْلَةً فِيْمَنْ يَلِينَـا

فَآبُوا بِالنِّهَـابِ وَبِالسَّبَايَـا
وَأُبْنَـا بِالمُلُـوكِ مُصَفَّدِينَا

They waged a war against their opponents
We fought a battle against our adversaries.71

They returned with booty and prisoners
We returned with kings, fettered in chains and shackles.72

إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي بَكْرٍ إِلَيْكُـمْ
أَلَمَّا تَعْرِفُوا مِنَّـا اليَقِينَـا

أَلَمَّا تَعْلَمُوا مِنَّـا وَمِنْكُـمْ
كَتَائِبَ يَطَّعِنَّ وَيَرْتَمِينَـا

Get away, Bani Bakr, do get away, depart!
Haven’t you learned the truth about us?73

Have our warring battalions and yours
Not taught you a lesson respecting us? 74

عَلَيْنَا البَيْضُ وَاليَلَبُ اليَمَانِي
وَأسْيَافٌ يَقُمْنَ وَيَنْحَنِينَـا

عَلَيْنَا كُـلُّ سَابِغَـةٍ دِلاَصٍ
تَرَى فَوْقَ النِّطَاقِ لَهَا غُضُوناً

We don, beneath white cloaks, protective shields
Of hide strips made
And flourishingly brandish swords and scimitars.75

We put on every bright and accommodatingly defensive covering
When closely observed, wavelike curves are discerned.76

إِذَا وُضِعَتْ عَنِ الأَبْطَالِ يَوْمَاً
رَأَيْتَ لَهَا جُلُودَ القَوْمِ جُونَا

كَأَنَّ غُضُونَهُنَّ مُتُونُ غُـدْرٍ
تُصَفِّقُهَا الرِّيَاحُ إِذَا جَرَيْنَا

When taken off heroes,
You notice their skins turned black
Due to prolong wearing.78

Their undulations resemble a pond’s surface
When wind plays over it, creating waves.79

وَتَحْمِلُنَا غَدَاةَ الرَّوْعِ جُـرْدٌ
عُرِفْنَ لَنَا نَقَائِذَ وَافْتُلِينَـا

وَرَدْنَ دَوَارِعاً وَخَرَجْنَ شُعْثَاً
كَأَمْثَالِ الرَّصَائِعِ قَدْ بَلِينَا

In time of dread, shorthaired horses carry us
And deliver us from our adversaries.80

They charge the battleground, richly caparisoned
And depart, disheveled, completely exhausted, without saddles
Like worn-out ropes.81

وَرِثْنَاهُنَّ عَنْ آبَـاءِ صِـدْقٍ
وَنُـورِثُهَا إِذَا مُتْنَا بَنِينَـا

عَلَى آثَارِنَا بِيضٌ حِسَـانٌ
نُحَاذِرُ أَنْ تُقَسَّمَ أَوْ تَهُونَا

We have inherited them from our credible fathers
And when we die, likewise we bequeath them to our sons.82

When we engage in battle, we are mindful
Of our beautiful, white-skinned women behind us
We do our utmost to protect them
Lest they be captured, humiliated,
And divided amongst the enemy.83

أَخَذْنَ عَلَى بُعُولَتِهِنَّ عَهْـدَاً
إِذَا لاَقَوْا كَتَائِبَ مُعْلِمِينَا

لَيَسْتَلِبُـنَّ أَفْرَاسَـاً وَبِيضَـاً
وَأَسْرَى فِي الحَدِيدِ مُقَرَّنِينَا

They have vowed loyalty to their husbands
That when enemy battalions attack
They will distinguish themselves by visible marks.84

So that our men plunder the enemy’s horses
Swords, and take prisoners, iron-shackled.85

تَرَانَا بَارِزِينَ وَكُـلُّ حَـيٍّ
قَدِ اتَّخَذُوا مَخَافَتَنَا قَرِينَا

إِذَا مَا رُحْنَ يَمْشِينَ الهُوَيْنَا
كَمَا اضْطَرَبَتْ مُتُونُ الشَّارِبِينَا

We openly walk the open spaces
While tribes huddle with each other
Fearful of us.86

When our women walk about casually
They move in a swaggering gait
As the inebriated are known to walk.87

يَقُتْنَ جِيَادَنَـا وَيَقُلْنَ لَسْتُـمْ
بُعُولَتَنَا إِذَا لَمْ تَمْنَعُونَـا

ظَعَائِنَ مِنْ بَنِي جُشَمِ بْنِ بَكْرٍ
خَلَطْنَ بِمِيسَمٍ حَسَبَاً وَدِينَا

They feed our horses and declare:
You are not our husbands
If you fail to protect us.88

They are the noble lineage of Jashm and Bakr
Combining in their character
Nobility of birth and religious reverence.89

وَمَا مَنَعَ الظَّعَائِنَ مِثْلُ ضَرْبٍ
تَرَى مِنْهُ السَّوَاعِدَ كَالقُلِينَا

كَأَنَّا وَالسُّيُـوفُ مُسَلَّـلاَتٌ
وَلَدْنَا النَّاسَ طُرَّاً أَجْمَعِينَا

Nothing protect women from being
Taken prisoner, save sword strikes
That sever the arms of would be capturers.90

When we draw our swords
We feel we are the fathers
And the entire mankind our children
In need or our protection.91

يُدَهْدُونَ الرُّؤُوسَ كَمَا تُدَهْدَي
حَزَاوِرَةٌ بِأَبْطَحِهَا الكُرِينَـا

وَقَدْ عَلِمَ القَبَائِلُ مِنْ مَعَـدٍّ
إِذَا قُبَبٌ بِأَبْطَحِهَا بُنِينَا

We roll peers' heads on the ground
As tough and rough children roll play stones.92

The Maad tribes will take notice
When we pitch our tents
On level land, in plain country
As they stand revealed, for all to behold.93

بِأَنَّا المُطْعِمُـونَ إِذَا قَدَرْنَـا
وَأَنَّا المُهْلِكُونَ إِذَا ابْتُلِينَـا

وَأَنَّـا المَانِعُـونَ لِمَا أَرَدْنَـا
وَأَنَّا النَّازِلُونَ بِحَيْثُ شِينَـا

And they know that we offer hospitality
Even to those we subdue and vanquish
And destroy our enemies if they try and test our patience.94

We deny people that which we deem ours
And camp, unopposed, in whatever land
We choose for our dwelling.95

وَأَنَّا التَارِكُونَ إِذَا سَخِطْنَـا
وَأَنَّا الآخِذُونَ إِذَا رَضِينَـا

وَأَنَّا العَاصِمُونَ إِذَا أُطِعْـنَا
وَأَنَّـا العَازِمُونَ إِذَا عُصِينَا

We are capable of letting free whomever we capture
Without asking for ransom
Accepting gifts only from those
Toward whom we are kindly disposed.96

We protect those who obey us
And deal firmly with those who disobey.97

وَنَشْرَبُ إِنْ وَرَدْنَا المَاءَ صَفْواً
وَيَشْرَبُ غَيْرُنَا كَدِرَاً وَطِيـنَا

أَلاَ أَبْلِغْ بَنِي الطَّمَّاحِ عَـنَّا
وَدُعْمِيَّاً فَكَيْفَ وَجَدْتُـمُونَا

When seeking out water sources
We drink clear and clean water
While others drink water mixed
With mud, tainted with impurities.98

Do inquire of the Tammah and Du'mmay tribes about us
Ask them how did they find us: cowards or brave?99

إِذَا مَا المَلْكُ سَامَ النَّاسَ خَسْفَاً
أَبَيْنَا أَنْ نُقِرَّ الذُّلَّ فِينَـا

مَلأْنَا البَرَّ حَتَّى ضَاقَ عَنَّـا
وَمَاءَ البَحْرِ نَمْلَؤُهُ سَفِيـنَا

When a king abusively treats his subjects
We reject humiliation and disdain defeat.100

We have filled the land with our homes
Until there is no more room to contain us
And we are capable of filling the sea
With boats if we so desire. 101

إِذَا بَلَغَ الفِطَـامَ لَنَـا صَبِيٌّ
تَخِرُّ لَـهُ الجَبَابِرُ سَاجِدِينَـا

As soon as a boy of ours is weaned
The mighty and powerful
Bow down to him on hands and knees.102